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Celebration of cultures to welcome new residents


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, August 29, 2023

Hamilton has seen a growth spurt in terms of housing, city expansion with the Peacocke subdivision, business prospects with more offices and corporate names in the city and also in terms of more residents moving to the city to call it home.

To highlight what makes Hamilton a special place, the Hamilton City Council is giving a warm welcome to all newcomers in Hamilton Kirikiriroa during Welcoming Week 2023, from September 1 to September 10, 2023.

Welcoming Week is an annual global event bringing people and community groups together to celebrate the contributions of migrants and refugees to their collective cities.

Celebrating diverse communities

Hamilton is incredibly diverse with Hamiltonians representing more than 160 ethnicities, and a long history of people moving here from other countries. The latest statistics show more than 27% of the city’s population of more than 184,905 people were born overseas.

The council is hosting and supporting a wide variety of events in collaboration with local community groups to welcome newcomers.

Ethnic Development Advisor, Jovi Abellanosa, is excited to see the results of a lot of planning and preparation. “It has been awesome to see employers come on board to feature their new staff and many organisations and local community groups come together and plan something special to celebrate the diversity in Hamilton Kirikiriroa.”

With a multi-ethnic makeup and a variety of cultural influences, Hamilton has been a welcoming city for people from all parts of the world, who have established strong cultural foundations, which provide a greater support network for all new families who move to the city.

Feroza M, a young mother of two recalls her move to the city in a conversation with Indian Newslink and said, “Hamilton is my home, where I have made a connection with people who knew what it means to move to a new city and start a new chapter of life. It was at one such community event that I met some families who were from the same culture as us and we instantly felt at ease and found support. We look forward to doing the same with other young families who are now moving to Hamilton.”

Details of the event

Welcoming Week will run from Friday, September 1, 2023, to Sunday, September 10, 2023, and includes a series of mostly free events designed to welcome new Hamiltonians to the city as well as help existing Hamiltonians learn how to be welcoming and inclusive to newcomers.

Several events are happening during the week including a Welcoming Manaaki Village with ‘Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa’ formally opening the festivities. At the village, there will be Māori cultural performances along with other performances from community groups. There are opportunities to learn more about other groups from their cultural and community displays and there will be food stalls.

Other events during the week include Tangata Tiriti Trainings and a showcase of the history of migration at some of our libraries. Community houses across Hamilton will be opening their doors with activities including community potluck, workshops and more.

Chair of the Community and Natural Environment Committee, Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, has called New Zealand home since she moved from South Africa 23 years ago. She believes Welcoming Week plays an important part in the well-being of Hamilton’s newest residents and is a great opportunity to welcome and help them feel supported.

“Whether you have just moved to Hamilton Kirikiriroa or you have been here for a few years, Welcoming Week is an amazing chance for you to get involved in the community, meet lots of people, and learn about other cultures in our city.”

Young residents welcome

Aimed at welcoming all the young students, both domestic and International, who have decided to call Hamilton home, an event on September 8, 2023, at the Zeal Youth Centre will be a perfect place to meet fellow young members of the community through fun activities, art, a chance to win prizes, live music, entertainment and info about youth services in the city.

The event will provide a meeting ground for young members of the city and provide avenues for them to be involved in youth organisations, explore the city and make new connections.

You can view Hamilton’s Welcoming Week programme here.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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